860h.01/1–2345: Telegram

The Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile (Patterson) to the Secretary of State

Yugos 17. King Peter fearing precipitate action by Dr. Subasic contrary to Yugoslav interests, decided yesterday afternoon to dismiss him. He called Subasic, Shutej37 and Kosanovich38 to his office at 6 p.m. and formally surrounded by his personal staff, read his answer to Subasic’s letter of January 20.

In this letter, copy of which follows by air,39 King reiterates his position in regard to Tito-Subasic agreement and says he has given many proofs of his gratitude toward the National Liberation movement. He then states that Subasic has acted without consulting him and brought the King and his Government into a difficult and uncalled for situation. Letter continues that King is against the departure of his Government from this country until his viewpoint has been accepted and that he “cannot at the last moment be asked to reply with an unconditional yes or no”.

King goes on to say that although Tito consulted Avnoj before conclusion of agreement, Subasic, by his failure to consult King and his Government caused all the present complications; and that Subasic should not have asked endorsement of great Allies before receiving consent of King and his Government.

King concludes by stating he profoundly disapproves of Subasic conduct in this matter and therefore asks for his resignation.

[Page 1185]

According to King, this letter was a shock to his Ministers and Subasic asked to be given until morning to think it over. Later, at 9 p.m., King sent a second letter to Subasic saying that he would expect his resignation in writing by 9 a.m. today. At same time he remarked to his family that if Subasic does not comply, he will issue a royal decree declaring him out of office.40

Meanwhile King issued a press communiqué explaining his request for Subasic’s resignation, news copy of which is doubtless already in Department’s hands.

Repeated to Moscow as No. 18 and Caserta as No. 15.

  1. Jurej Shutej, Minister of Finance, Commerce and Industry in the Subasich Cabinet.
  2. Sava Kosanovich, Minister of the Interior in the Subasich Cabinet.
  3. Sent to the Department under cover of despatch 19, January 27, 1945, from the Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile at London, not printed.
  4. In telegram Yugos 18, January 23, 1945, from London, Ambassador Patterson, reported that at a Cabinet meeting held at noon on January 23, all but one of the Yugoslav Cabinet Ministers voted not to resign and agreed to go to Belgrade as soon as planes were made available by the British. King Peter expressed his amazement at British action and said that he had not decided what to do next. (860h.01/1–2345)